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Using Promotional SMS to Boost Your Events

The lifeblood of a truly great event is event promotion. If you don’t promote your event enough or correctly, the rest of your planning and efforts can be for naught.

Whether your event is a sports match, a play, a concert, or a fun gathering for like-minded people to meet or socialize, you know the energy from the crowd can make it so memorable and unique. At the same time, showing up to an event that’s got a sparse attendance can be truly tragic. Even if it wasn’t your event to plan, watching an event go bust is awful.

As you are planning and preparing all the other aspects of hosting an event, it’s easy to forget how much time and effort needs to be devoted to its marketing efforts. Thankfully, there are easy digital marketing solutions to make it easier than ever before.

Social media platforms, email, and microsites are here at our disposal. However, even though they offer ease-of-use, these resources face decreases in open rates, click-throughs, and consumer engagement.

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Promotional SMS is the answer

Fortunately for event planners, there is a better way to reach out to your attendees to increase the likelihood of a fully attended event. The Solution: promotional SMS messaging, also known as text message marketing.

Text messages are one of the most effective marketing tools out there. Mobile devices are just about everywhere on the planet, and almost every one of those devices can receive text messages. Additionally, text messages have an impressive 98% open rate, typically within 15 minutes of being received.

Text messages can be the easiest and most cost-effective solution for event planners. Text messages can promote entertainment venues and special events, drive ticket sales, provide engagement with subscribers and fans, offer event reminders, and keep attendees apprised of event updates.

Promotional SMS can increase brand awareness, attract a broader and more diverse audience, and increase event attendance at an affordable cost. Plus, it’s really simple.

Let’s explore how you can employ a promotional SMS campaign before and during your next event.

Setup and manage your event

In SMS messaging, a keyword is a word that consumers can text to an SMS shortcode with their cell phone. The keyword and shortcode work together to match the user to the keyword’s specific messaging campaign. It sounds technical, but it’s surprisingly simple in application.

During your event planning and marketing, reserve a keyword for your event. Customers or potential event attendees can opt-in with a single short text. This will subscribe them to receive updates, promotions, reminders, etc.

You can promote the keyword through your other promotional marketing methods. For example, display the keyword on posters, social media posts, your website, fliers, and even the event tickets themselves. The goal here is to increase the keyword’s visibility and encourage fans to sign up.

Advertise ticket sales

Subscribers have opted-in, and they’re waiting to hear more. So, be sure to let them know when tickets will go on sale in advance. This is an excellent time to let them know if there are any pre-sale specials, offer exclusive discounts, or promotional pre-sale events that they’ll want to checkout.

If you developed a large subscriber base, you would want to consider segmenting your audience to serve their specific interests more effectively. This will improve your customer engagement across the different sections of your target market.

Increase sign ups

You can stimulate audience opt-ins by offering a discount to potential leads if they will sign up. Deals can be for anything, such as ticket price discounts, vouchers for products at the event, or promotional freebies.

This increases the value for consumers, and it engages your audience. Plus, it increases your subscribers. As you gain subscribers and begin seeing ticket sales, you’re ready to implement other features of an SMS marketing campaign for your event.

Confirmation texts

Let customers know you see them and appreciate them when they sign up or buy a ticket by sending a confirmation text. This is a good opportunity to send information that they might have missed if they’re late to sign up.

Give event reminders

There’s nothing better for an event than someone hyping it up for you. Text messages can be the hype help you need.

As the event draws closer, send reminders to subscribers. One exciting way to remind attendees is doing countdown reminders. Text scheduling helps you to automate this process. Build excitement for your event without taking up your valuable event prep time to remember to send texts on time.

Having one less detail to worry about can make all the difference for a busy event promoter.

Pre-event sweepstakes and polls

Text-2-Win pre-event can up your event’s hype game. If your attendees know there’s an opportunity to win something when they arrive at the event, they’ll be looking forward to attending even more.

Pre-event polls can give you an idea of what people expect and areas that you need to focus on improving. You can get an idea of how many people are planning to attend if your event doesn’t have ticket sales to use for data.

Brand awareness and social listening

You can use the event lead-up time to send texts that engage your audience and express your brand more fully to them. Links to videos and social media posts can help your brand messaging. The cool fact about linking videos is that some videos will now play in texts that visually stimulate viewers.

Recipients may have questions and concerns. Providing an opportunity for them to interact with event planners can clear up any confusion and give them confidence in attending.

Send event updates

Did something change with your event? Tell your subscribers when the event has sold out. Did you book additional talent that fans weren’t expecting?

Is the weather forecast going to mean changes to the event? Changes, good and bad, are important details to share with your audience. Make sure they stay updated and fully engaged by texting them with the details.

Text messaging is going to be the quickest and most effective way to reach people. Remember that impressive open rate of texts? Your fans won’t miss a thing.

Distribute day-of details

Some day-of details that will interest your attendees:

  • “Doors Open” announcements

  • Event lineup

  • Venue rules

  • “Get here early” promotional campaigns

  • Last-minute changes

  • Surprise guests to expect

  • Subscriber discounts for event vendors

Anything that attendees need to know can be distributed efficiently and help you avoid a potential event disaster.

Make use of your subscriber list

Do you have event merchandise that you’d like to move that didn’t sell on the day-of? Text your subscribers’ coupon codes and links for ordering. This is a great way to finalize sales with customers that may still be on the fence about purchasing some merch. Get it off your hands.

If you were upfront with users when they opted-in to your campaign, you could use one event subscriber list to promote additional event lists.

When attendees subscribe to your event reminders for one event, there’s a good chance that they will want to attend your other events in the future. You can easily text blast your subscribers to offer them a signup link or keyword for future events.

During-event promotions with SMS

Odds are your customers are bringing their phones with them to your event, so your promotional use of SMS messaging shouldn’t end when they arrive. Keep the party going, and continue engaging your subscribers.

Poll them

Polls can be extra fun for event attendees. An obvious plus here is being able to get data on how your event is going in real-time. Get feedback on whether your guests are having a good time or not.

Your audience can also offer up their opinions and increase event participation by letting them vote by text on competitions or express their reactions. Talk about a learning experience. You can know what they’re saying about the event instantly.

Event text-to-win opportunities

Hype up your event audience with text-to-win opportunities. Prizes can be exclusive merchandise, tickets for your next event, backstage passes, vouchers for refreshments, or gift cards to use with your event sponsors’ businesses.

These sweepstakes can be operated using the same keyword to shortcode method that users initially signed up with. Attendees simply text the keyword to a short code, and they have entered automatically for a chance to win. This increases excitement at the event itself.

A pleasant side effect is that you have an even larger audience to promote your next event. That’s what’s known as a win-win.


You can have fun promoting your event, but remember to keep your texts readable, concise, and valuable. After all, your audience needs to know what you and your events are all about.

Your next event can be your best one ever with the addition of an SMS messaging campaign. Contact TextSanity today to learn more.